Some free social work licensing exam
A family meets with a social worker following a teenage
daughter's breakup with her boyfriend. The mother states that she
really liked the boy and has felt very depressed since the breakup.
The father has tried to contact the boy in hopes of repairing the
relationship. According to a family systems theory-based approach,
what is MOST LIKELY happening in this family?
A. The family has connected relationships.
B. It is an enmeshed family system.
C. It is a disengaged family system.
D. It is a separated family system.
What's your answer?
Do you know this material? If not, how do you get to a best,
educated guess? Sometimes, common sense is your best guide. Common
sense and some simple psych vocabulary.
In the vignette, the mother is depressed by the breakup. The
father is meddling. The parents are pretty clearly overreaching. So
what answer does that sound like?
Let's take the offerings one at a time:
A. Connected. A connected family enjoys time together but also
have separate friendships and interests. This family appears too
involved in one another's business to be truly connected.
B. Enmeshed. The mother's depression following the breakup, and
the father's attempt to repair the relationship, are signs that
this family is enmeshed. Mark this one as a good possibility.
C. Disengaged. Disengaged families have very little emotional
connection, usually don't spend much time together, and aren't
impacted by one another's activities. Not it.
D. Separated family systems don't have a lot of shared
connections, though they do have a few activities they enjoy doing
together. Again, not it.
So you have your answer. Enmeshed families do not respect one
another's boundaries. They tend to focus on everyone else's
business rather than self-care. The lack of privacy in enmeshed
families often leads to conflict.
You might have narrowed this down to connected vs. enmeshed. If
you'd never heard of the
enmeshment, you might have been tempted to pick connected. But
the word has probably entered your world at some point. If not, you
know it now. You're ready for a question like this on the AWSB
To get really ready, practice with SWTP's complete 170-question
exams. There are thorough rationales, plus suggested study links,
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Good luck on the exam!